Saturday, August 21, 2010

I love Blake House-Mark Yudof does not deserve to live there imo

Mr. Yudof apparently was having rental problems at his $13,000+ per month rental home in the Oakland hills --rent that UC pays for--- in fact, this article says UCOP recently paid for repairs on the rental home and that UC staff were used in negotiations with his landlord over repairs and security deposits... hhhmmm.

$600,000.00 has already gone out over the last two years on Yudoff rent and housing expenses.

Mr. Yudof is now living in Lafayette-it is half the size but still costs UC $11,000 per month- the reason UC paid for his Oakland home was because he had to "fulfill his obligation to host functions for staff members, donors and visiting dignitaries" - we wonder how many staff and students will be going out to Lafayette for UC events Yudof hosts in the future- seriously!- LAFAYETTE!!!?!?! -- unbelievable. Why is UC still paying for the rent on that suburban dwelling which is so far from UCOP headquarters in Oakland and far from any campus business in Berkeley- who is going to travel through the major multi year Caldecott Tunnel construction or already congested back roads for a visit? Donors and VIPs prefer to be on campus or at UCOP, by the bay-- not off in an inland suburb on the county line.

Yudof refers to his former landlord - as the "landlord from hell" - his name is Brennan Mulligan and he is a fellow Cal Alum so, Go Bears, Mr. Mulligan! btw, I've heard more than a few folks refer to Yudof as the UC Pres from hell, just sayin'. UC General Counsel makes calls to the landlord too!!!WTF!!!

It is interesting how Yudof changed his mind on settlement after The Bay Citizen newspaper filed a public-records request for information about the university’s expenditures on the house. Also, why would you rent a home in the hills with so many stairs in the first place if your poor wife has bad knees? Not exactly a planner, we guess...

Blake House is the UC President home in Kensington (also an estate students of environmental design and landscape architecture study at) that Mark Yudof described this way: "they have a president’s house, it needed $8 million of repairs and I decided that was not the way to go. Why the heck would I ever authorize $8 million for a house I didn’t want to live in anyhow?"

Blake House and Garden development began in the early 1920s when Anson Siles Blake and his wife Anita Day Symmes of Berkeley sought a new site for their home in order to make way for the university's proposed football stadium. It is a 13,239-square-foot mansion in Kensington with 10 acres of land, gorgeous Mediterranean gardens and sweeping views of the bay. In 1957 the Blakes deeded their house and garden to the University, and title passed to the University upon Anson Blake's death in 1962. Five years later, Blake House officially became the UC President's residence.

Five years ago there were complaints about the cost of upkeep on Blake House see this article. Now, we are paying for Blake House as a UC property and not using it for UC functions -- and also paying for housing and expenses at another luxury home in the Oakland Hills-- and now Lafayette. Why?!

I am currently watching a documentary called Saving the Bay.
Mrs. Catherine Kerr (wife of former UC President Clark Kerr) had a huge hand in saving the bay and developing the Save the Bay Foundation during her husband's term as UC President.
Mrs. Kerr is quoted as saying that she looked at the bay from her home - I believe on Grizzly Peak Road and at Blake House- and could see the devastation occurring to the bay due to infill/dumping. Mrs. Kerr knew that it needed to be saved. Her contribution to saving the bay and the bay area through creation of the McAteer Petris Act is immense. She did so, in part, through the use of her husband's status and her connections at UC. It was for a public good, rather than a private indulgence. I highly recommend watching the full four hour documentary. It is narrated by Robert Redford and has won four Emmy awards.

Both Yudof and Kerr hail from Pennsylvania.

Kerr gave us some of the golden years of UC- turbulent, painful, and also golden and he was fired by Gov. Reagan.

Yudof,a man who prides himself on being a Philadelphia lawyer, instead is like gum on our shoe.

The contrast is striking!

It is remarkable to me how far we have fallen in what we expect of our UC Presidents.

My hope is that one day we will have a UC President who will understand the true value and meaning of UC to California and values its natural resources- like 1.2 million gallons of water! A president who will truly use a president's home for meeting members of the UC community on a frequent basis as intended- not someone who merely holds 23 functions over a 24 month period- a future UC President who will be able to appreciate the history of Blake House and the restoration of Blake House and Gardens.


  1. I have been to the Blake House, and it is indeed beautiful and it needs some works. I would live there. The whole of UC is crumbling and the president runs and hides in Lafayette, WTF? Yudof is a Fool. Maybe UC could get funds from the BP $500 mil. slush fund to jazz the place up a bit. Perhaps then, maybe Yudof would want to live there.

  2. no one needs to touch hands to that BP money

    the $8-10 million for retrofit upgrades is there- unrestricted endowed funds - if it is indeed needed

  3. As a furloughed employee and one that lost my own home due to the loss of pay, this is sickening.

  4. Do you know whether Blake House is currently in use? Any info on who is renting it, whether taxpayers are still paying upkeep, etc.?

  5. slugorganizingcommittee, hi-believe it is empty because they are claiming it is uninhabitable because it needs retrofit/repair work. Not certain where they come up with always changing dollar figures for what it would cost to repair- esp in today's economy that number should go down, not up (they claimed 8 mil, now saying 10 mil). Dynes lived there until 2007 - see "Free mansions for people of means - UC system spends about $1,000,000 a year just on upkeep (2005)" on the right hand column.
    the question of taxpayer money is a good one esp. in light of the commingling of public- private funds stories that have come out at CSU in the last few days- hopefully the State's audit findings on UC will be out in January and help answer some of these questions. UCOP Steve Montiel was interviewed by Phil Matier of SF Chron and KPIX-- Montiel said the funds come from an endowment set up in the 1920's as part of Blake house - you might send Phil Matier an email or phone to ask he might have more background : Call (415) 777-8815, or e-mail via

  6. Joe, sad to hear it- hang in there. regards.

  7. UC President Yudof's reign over the UC system is characterized by overlooking self-serving an example...Sorry Tale of UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office: easily grasped by the public, lost on University of California’s President Yudof. The UC Berkley budget gap has grown to $150 million, & still the Chancellor is spending money that isn't there on $3,000,000 consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the consultants "thinking, expertise, & new knowledge".
    Does this mean that the faculty & management of UC Berkeley – flagship campus of the greatest public system of higher education in the world - lack the knowledge, integrity, impartiality, innovation, skills to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from faculty interviews & the senior management that hired them; yet $ 150 million of inefficiencies and solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor & Provost Breslauer were doing the work of their jobs (This simple point is lost on UC’s leadership).
    The victims of this folly are Faculty and Students. $ 3 million consultant fees would be far better spent on students & faculty.
    There can be only one conclusion as to why inefficiencies & solutions have not been forthcoming from faculty & staff: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility & the trust of the faculty & Academic Senate leadership (C. Kutz, F. Doyle). Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants' recommendations - disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy - the underlying problem of lost credibility & trust will remain. (Context: greatest recession in modern times)
    Contact your representatives in Sacramento: tell them of the hefty self-serving $’s being spent by UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer

  8. You did not mention that UC President Yudof has a driver and a car that are being paid by UCOP!

    Not bad if you can get it during 19% unemployment in California!